When is it Time to Modify an Old Order?
The end of a divorce or custody case provides much-needed closure for both the parties, as well as their children. The end of the case and the entry of the final decree marks the time when everyone can start to move forward and start building a new future. However, not all final decrees mean the parties will never again have to return to court. There can be a variety of reasons that the parties may have to return to the divorce court in the future.
You may need to return to the divorce court if your financial situation or that of your former spouse has changed. This can come into play in a variety of ways, but typically it would happen due to support payments. Child support is based on the income of both parties, among other factors. Therefore, if you or your former spouse have a large and permanent change to your income, it would be time to modify the prior support order. Similarly, although spousal support is not a strict mathematical calculation as is the case with child support, it is still important to understand that the income of both parties is part of the way spousal support is determined. As with child support, if either support has a permanent change in income after the final order, modification may be appropriate.
Child custody is another very common reason to return to modify an old order. As children get older, their needs change. An order that was drafted and entered when a child was two years old may no longer be workable once the child is thirteen. The parties should carefully consider the new and changing needs of the child and decide if the old order is meeting those needs, and whether a modification may be appropriate. In the context of a custody, one party relocating out-of-state is also an important reason for modification. The custody order that works perfectly when the parents live in the same town will almost certainly no longer be practical if the parents live two hundred miles apart. Such a situation almost always calls for a modification.
Finally, the discovery of fraud by one of the parties after a divorce is entered would be a good reason to modify an old order. One spouse hiding money or lying about income means that the former order needs to be changed to reflect the accurate assets or income.
If you think it may be time to modify your divorce or custody order, call us today for an appointment at (732) 529-6937. in helping our clients with modification cases and talk with you about your future.